Think back to the 16 or 17-year-old version of yourself. Careless, free, pimple faced and ignorant. Now think back to what it was that made you happy, and where you envisioned your life to be by now. Are you living the life you deemed as “perfect”? Would the 17-year-old you be proud of the older you that you’ve become? Tough question, right?
10 years ago, if I were to ask the 17-year-old version of myself, “where do you see yourself in 10 years?”, I’m guessing my answer would have been something along the lines of,
“I see myself living in a big city, enjoying Corporate life at some posh real estate firm. Buying and selling homes with million-dollar price tags to clients that pay for these homes in cash. I will be surrounded by a small group of childhood friends and we’d end each night at the watering hole, casually running up bar tabs consisting of whisky sours, Manhattan’s, and Old Fashioned’s. I will drunkenly make my way home to the ultimate bachelor pad, open the refrigerator and be greeted by a fridge full of ice-cold beers and week old Chinese take-out. I will probably be driving something ridiculous like a Range Rover, and my closet will be full of Brooks Brothers Suites and New & Lingwood shoes. Marriage and kids would be the furthest thing on my mind…”
Who am I kidding?! I know that’s exactly what my answer would have been! I may or may not have rehearsed that answer like a dozen times or so. This perfect life of mine may have been a result of watching “How I Met Your Mother” through my adolescence.
That whole, “where do you see yourself in 10 years” scenario plays out in my mind from time to time; as I’m sure it does for many other “poor dads”. The truth is… there is nothing wrong with that! Hell,
it’s not normal to not reflect on how the younger you thought it is absolutely normal for you to think back on what you thought your perfect life would be like, compared to how it actually is.
Understanding where you were mentally, before earning the titles “husband” and “father”, is not only essential to realizing how far you have come in life, but also in realizing how many things you thought made you happy, that have little to no importance on your life currently.
I have 5 close childhood friends whom I share everything about my life with. The good, the bad, and the ugly. These 5 friends are living the life I believed I wanted to live at my current age. Bachelors, going out to bars to meet women, golfing weekly, fishing at any given opportunity, spontaneous trips, attending music festivals and Dave Matthews Band concerts, shower beers, pooping with the door open and no regard for wearing clothes around the house. No responsibilities; no cares.
Now, do I regret any of the decisions that I have made that have lead me to my current situation in life…? Of course not.
If I could go back and change certain decisions I’ve made along the way, would I? The answer again would be, of course not.
This elaborate life I envisioned for myself as a 17-year-old hormonal teenage boy, compared to the actual life I am now living is vastly different. That same 17-year-old boy would have probably walked past present day me in Publix and thought, “What. A. Loser.”
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side”
For every instance that I open our guys group chat and catch up on stories about who took who home, I’m thankful I get to wake up each day and roll over to the most beautiful woman I’ve ever set my sights on. Every time I get jealous that my boys are golfing all weekend, I remember that there’s an opportunity to witness another of our children’s “firsts” off the golf course. Every moment I find myself vicariously living through my friends Snapchats and Instagram Stories; I am reminded that I have 4 mouths that call me “dad”, 8 tiny feet that I will help guide through life, 40 tiny fingers that have me wrapped around them, a wife who holds our entire family together, and an unlimited amount of memories to be made as our children grow up. And that is more than enough for me.
Life is not easy. Each one is different from the next. We are given plenty of variable that alter the course of our lives and direction in which we take. Looking back on the decisions we’ve made can single handedly be the most important thing any “poor dad” can do. Reflection is vital to any and all aspects of growth and maturity. Those that are living the life you thought would make you happy, are quite possibly just the opposite. Wishing they were in your shoes, poor dad.
-Poor Dads Diary.